If a beer company were to add corn syrup to the finished product, after the fermentation process, it would potentially be cause for concern, Dr. Ludwig said.
Sugary beverages and too many processed carbohydrates are a “major problem with the food supply,” he said, and they promote weight gain while also increasing the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
High-fructose corn syrup, a sweeter variant that is commonly added to processed food and beverages, has often been linked to obesity. Health professionals tend to suggest that there is little evidence high-fructose corn syrup is less healthy than other artificial sweeteners, but that most people would benefit by cutting down on it along with all other forms of sugar. (Corn syrup is made entirely of glucose, while both high-fructose corn syrup and white sugar contain glucose and fructose.)
While Bud Light sought to portray corn syrup as a nutritional boogeyman, several of the beverages produced by its parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, use corn syrup, including Bud Ice, Natural Ice and Rolling Rock, according to the company’s nutritional data.
MillerCoors, which makes Miller Lite and Coors Light, volleyed back on Twitter, shifting the focus from corn syrup to high-fructose corn syrup. It wrote that it was “proud that none of our products include any high fructose corn syrup, while a number of Anheuser-Busch products do.”
The company was correct: While many MillerCoors beers use corn syrup, none contain high-fructose corn syrup, according to its published nutritional data. Some AB InBev brands, including Bud Light Lime-A-Rita, include high-fructose corn syrup.
The back-and-forth spat may not have been the best result for Bud Light, said Wendy Clark, chief executive of the advertising agency DDB Worldwide.